Martin Küchen – as, leader
Uniting the finest Scandinavian improvisers this collective is often compared with Charlie Haden’s Liberation Orchestra due to similar ideology and musical dedications. Akin to Charlie Haden, Angles 8 leader Martin Küchen proclaims humanist ideas, condemns compulsion and terror in the world. Angles 8’s Every Woman Is A Tree (2008) was dedicated to the women in Iraq. In the liner notes Küchen talks about injustice, war and misery.
In fact, at the time the band was still a sextet – as it was formed in 2007. It has released several CDs.
Three years ago, with the addition of pianist Alexander Zethson and saxophonist Eirik Hegdal and with trumpeter Goran Kajfes replacing his colleague Magnus Broo, the band had grown into Angles 8. Before long, with return of the previous trumpeter, the band has enjoyed its new Angels 9 formation.
The idea to make the Angles sextet into an octet was a good one, making the sound fuller, giving more volume, offering more opportunities for contrast and depth, and making the grand themes even more sweeping and majestic. Its albums In Our Midst (2013) and Injures (2014) attest to that.
Music of Angles 8 hypnotizes. Perhaps, the secret lies in that they base their music on our collective memory, ancient European folk traditions, Balkan wind traditions, and folklore of African tribes. It is saturated with joy and sadness, fast unisons, unexpected turns and subtle transfigurations.
The visit of Swedish saxophonist Martin Küchen in Vilnius Jazz is as improvised and astounding as his life and his music. Instead of giving one planned concert with his own Angles 8, he will introduce himself in several capacities – as a soloist and a member of trio improvising a soundtrack to silent film.
Many a musician could wish for as adventurous life and career as his. He tried his hand as a street musician, travelled with a circus company in Europe, participated in dance projects, improvised with poets, wrote music for experimental films, theatre and sound installations, and on top of that recently tested the acoustics of an atomic power station and a water tower.
As winding was Martin’s path into music. His parents wanted him to play flute, but he started singing in a rock band (never stopped singing) and playing saxophone in Albert Ayler’s manner. In fact, his colleagues laughed at him to pieces, but the rebel didn’t stop – in the 90s he fixed himself on Swedish free jazz and improvised music scene, collaborated with diverse chamber groups, also composed for larger formations, performed as a soloist and with jazz orchestras.
Martin Küchen works with trios Sound of Mucus, Unsolicited Music Ensemble, Looper and Trespass, quartets Exploding Customer, UNSK; is a leader of Angles’ various projects, a member of Mats Gustafsson’s Fire! Orchestra, plays as a duo with guitarist David Stackenås. He has toured and performed with figures like Phil Minton, Sirone, Mark Sanders, Burkhard Beins, Andrea Neumann, Tony Wren, Luc Houtkamp and Joe Williamson.
Martin performed in Western and Eastern Europe, Balkans, North and West Africa, Canada, the USA and Japan. His discography amounts to over 20 CDs.
Amazingly, he never notates his compositions, but rather sends members of his group short recordings. At the rehearsals he plays or sings motives of his compositions, which are elaborated by his partners. According to critics, the result is sweeping!
Saxophonist Eirik Hegdal lives in Norway. He is the artistic director of the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra; works with bands like Team Hegdal, Zanussi 5, Angles 9, Lord Kelvin and Alpaca Ensemble. He is highly acclaimed as a composer, writes music for Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Bodø Sinfonietta, Trondheim Sinfonietta and others.
Trumpeter Magnus Broo, educated at the North Texas State University, was incorporated into Fredrik Norén Band, and also collaborated in the orchestra of Lennart Åberg. He is best known as a central figure of the Norwegian/Swedish group Atomic, leads his own Magnus Broo Quartet, collaborates with Fredrik Nordström’s Quintet.
Trombonist Mats Äleklint has been touring around the globe as a freelance musician since 2000. He has appeared in Norway, Canada, Germany, England, Portugal and Slovenia among other countries.
He has toured and recorded with Fire! and Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, as well as other Scandinavian big bands, Albert Pinton Quintet, Torbjörn Zetterberg Octet, YunKan10, The Thing XXL, Dave Holland, Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, Per Henrik Wallin among other celebrated collectives and improvisers.
Mats leads his own quartet, also collaborates with blues, soul, pop and rock musicians, appears in theatre projects.
Master of vibraphone Mattias Ståhl made an impressive jazz debut – he recieved the Swedish Radio Award 2002 as newcomer of the year for his album Ståhls blå. Two albums recorded with his quartet, for which he wrote the music as well, received great critical recognition.
As a sideman he contributed in a lot of exciting groups such as Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, Formo Tre&Metall, IPA and Cecilia Persson Quintet, took part in Georg Riedel, Emil Svanängen and Loney Dear projects. He contributed to Team Hegdal and Lennart Åberg orchestras, Nils Berg 5, Albert Pinton Quintet, Yttling Jazz, Fredrik Nordström Quintet, Klaus Holm Kollektif and Jet Set Sweden.
Alexander Zethson’s recent collaborations include Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, Olav Mjelva, Johan Jutterström, Sofia Jernberg and Gustaf Hielm. The pianist also composes and performs solo piano music for movie screenings at the Swedish Film Institute.
Bassist Johan Berthling has been active on the Swedish improvised scene since the late 90’s but doesn’t stay true to any genre: he works in all kinds of music. Has worked as producer and arranger for many Swedish and some international artists.
He works with his own group Tape, as well as with Ohayo, Boots Brown, Sten Sandell Trio and Fire! Orchestra. He also plays guitar and other instruments.
Drummer Andreas Werliin is part of Wildbirds & Peacedrums, Dan Berglund’s Tonbruket, Loney Dear and Fire! Orchestra. He has also written music for theater and film.